What’s Glorious About Goodwood 2018?
The 2018 Glorious Goodwood Festival takes place between Tuesday 31 July and Saturday 5 August, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the glorious races you can look forward to at a festival that is now officially known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The highlights of the meeting include the Qatar Goodwood Cup, the Lennon Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, the Nassau Stakes, the King George Qatar Stakes, and the Steward’s Cup.
Glorious Goodwood Tuesday 31 July
Qatar Goodwood Cup
The Goodwood Cup is the main highlight of the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival and it was first run over 200 years ago in 1812. It was elevated to a Group 1 in 2017 and is run over 2-miles. There have been several much-loved horses that have won the race more than once, including Le Moss, Further Flight, Yeats, Big Orange, and three-time winner Double Trigger. Last year’s winner Stradivarius is on target to try and win the race back-to-back. He’s also bidding for to win the second-leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown after winning this year’s Ascot Gold Cup. If successful, he’ll have to win the Doncaster Cup to complete the Stayers’ Triple Crown. However, first he’ll have to beat the likes of Torcedor, Desert Skyline, and Withhold. Meanwhile, Kew Gardens could be an interesting opponent if he bids to follow in Stradivarius’s footsteps in trying to win this race as a three-year-old.
The Lennon Stakes is one of the newer group races at Glorious Goodwood, having been established in 2000. It was then promoted to its current Group 2 status in 2003. The only horse to have won the race twice is Nayyir, though its highest-profile winner is Paco Boy who went on to enjoy success at Group 1 level. Last year’s event was won by Breton Rock but, just like last year, he’s not amongst the favourites. Expert Eye heads the market after his scintillating victory at Royal Ascot in the Jersey Stakes, and he was also imperious when winning the Qatar Vintage Stakes at last year’s Glorious Goodwood Meeting. He could be taken on by the English 1,000 Guineas winner Tip To Win, as well as older horses such as Sir Dancelot, D’Bai, Suedois, Emmaus, and Limato.
Glorious Goodwood Wednesday 1 August
The Sussex Stakes is another of Glorious Goodwood’s most prestigious races. This Group 1 contest dates back to 1841 and is run over a mile. It is traditionally the first time the three-year-olds take on their elders over this trip and the race has a special role of honour. Victories for Brigadier Gerard, Wollow, Marling, Sayyedati, Giant’s Causeway, Rock Of Gibraltar, Henrythenavigator, and Canford Cliffs all preceded Frankel’s two wins in the race. Meanwhile, impressive wins for Kingman and Solow have come since. Last year’s race was won by Here Comes When when the ground turned heavy but, with conditions unlikely to be on the soft side this season, victory may go to one of the more fancied horses. The unbeaten Without Parole heads the market for John Gosden, whilst it will be interesting to see whether Sir Michael Stoute supplements Expert Eye for this one-mile contest rather than take in the Lennon Stakes over a furlong shorter. Aidan O’Brien has also said that he thinks Goodwood will suit Gustav Klimt. There’s also some interesting older horses in Beat The Bank, and Lightning Spear. However, it’s worth noting that seven of the last 10 winners have been three-year-olds.
Glorious Goodwood Thursday 2 August
The Nassau Stakes was established in 1840 and is run over 1 mile 1 furlong and 197 yards. It was elevated to Group 1 status in 1999. Three-time winner Midday is the most famous winner of the race, though recent editions have also been won by popular horses such as Islington, Russian Rhythm, Ouija Board, The Fugue, and Legatissimo. Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore are on possible hat-tricks in the race after winning the last two renewals with Minding and Winter. This year, they could be represented by the useful Rhododendron, though it’s recent Pretty Polly Stakes winner Urban Fox that heads the ante-post market for William Haggas. However, as three-year-olds have won four of the last five renewals, the likes of Veracious and Will Illusion also catch the eye.
Glorious Goodwood Friday 3 August
King George Qatar Stakes
The King George Stakes is usually the fastest race run at Goodwood over the five days of Glorious Goodwood, as it brings together some of the fastest sprinters in the country over 5-furlongs. The race was first run in 1911 and was won twice by the legendary filly Lochsong. The last three winners all have entries this season, with 2014 and 2016 winner Take Cover, 2015 winner Muthmir, and last year’s winner Battaash all possibly set to do battle. However, Battaash will be very hard to beat if showing anywhere near the same level of form as last year when he beat fellow Group 1 winning sprinters Profitable and Marsha. This year’s contest looks nowhere near as strong as last year’s, and it’s worth remembering that the stable of Charlie Hills was below form when Battaash was beaten at Ascot last time. Havana Grey could represent a bit of each-way value if turning-up after his recent win in Ireland.
Glorious Goodwood Saturday 4 August
The Steward’s Cup is a handicap run over six-furlongs that many trainers plot their high-class sprint handicappers at. It is a race that has been won by subsequent Group 1 sprinters Lochsong and Coastal Bluff, whilst recent winners like Borderlescott, Magical Memory, and last year’s winner Lancelot Du Lac all had winning form in either Listed Races or Group Races. The last two winners Lancelot Du Lac and Dancing Star are again quoted in the betting, though neither are near the front of the market. The early favourite is Dreamfield who, after finishing second in the Wokingham when backed off the boards, was then sixth in the July Cup. He could be re-opposed by his Wokingham conqueror Bacchus, whilst the improving Foxtrot Lady catches the eye in the colours of Jeff Smith, owner of Lochsong and Dancing Star. Tis Marvellous also looks interesting after he finished fourth in the Wokingham, as the four-year-old was a Group 2 winner as a two-year-old.